1932

Abstract

Around 15 million children are born preterm (<37 weeks of gestation) every year. Of these, 15% or 2.25 million are born very preterm (VP; <32 weeks of gestation). Here, the developmental outcomes of VP babies in diverse domains from motor, cognitive, and social function to mental health and well-being throughout childhood and adolescence are reviewed. Their life course adaptation in terms of romantic relationships, employment, and quality of life into adulthood is also considered. Some adverse effects reduce as individuals age, and others remain remarkably stable from childhood into adulthood. We argue that to advance understanding of developmental mechanisms and direct resources for intervention more effectively, social factors need to be assessed more comprehensively, and genetically sensitive designs should be considered with neuroimaging integrated to test alternative developmental models. As current evidence is based almost exclusively on studies from high-income countries, research from low- and middle-income countries is urgently needed.

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2019-12-24
2024-04-25
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